Direct Mail: Coach vs. Banana Republic

On the same day last week, I received two very similar pieces of direct mail, one from Coach and one from Banana Republic. Each of them had their merits and drawbacks, and I found it interesting to compare the two across a number of dimensions:

Coach offer:

photo 1-6

Banana Republic offer:

photo 2-5

Coach vs. Banana Republic

Offer: The $100-off in the Coach offer sounds very compelling and like a significant savings. Granted it’s off a $300+ purchase, whereas the Banana Republic offer didn’t have a hurdle, and %-wise the Coach offer turns out to be less than 35% (like the Banana offer), but from a quick read, $100-off sounds very generous. Winner: Coach

Presentation: The Coach offer came in a sealed envelope so it felt more premium vs. a postcard-type mailer folded in half and sealed together from Banana Republic.  Winner: Coach

Layout: The Coach offer had minimal text to read, and a beautiful graphic product image.  The Banana Republic offer was much wordier (and no one reads!)  Winner: Coach

Exclusivity: The “By invitation only” wording in the Coach piece sounds exclusive. Banana Republic also made efforts to build exclusivity (“Our very best customers”, “Enjoy the perks of Luxe”) but due to the overall wordiness of the piece this is easily overlooked.  Winner: Coach

Rarity of discount: As a brand, Coach rarely offers discounts. Therefore, this offer feels more unique, like you aren’t always getting offers like this. In Banana’s case, it seems that every week I am receiving another email with another 30-40% off offer, so this didn’t particularly feel special or as if I will miss my chance if I don’t use it, and was easier for me to disregard.  Winner: Coach

Personal connection: Both offers were signed by the brand president to add a personal touch. Winner: Tie

Follow-up information: The QR code on the Coach piece is silly in my opinion. This real estate could have simply been used to include a bolder URL to visit, which is a lot less work on the reader’s part. (Otherwise you have to have a QR code reader app installed on your phone, know to open it, take a perfect photo to capture the details of the QR code and THEN visit the link it is directing you to.  Whereas a URL is very simple to type into a mobile or desktop browser).  I preferred how Banana Republic provided shoppers with a tear-away card that has details on the back and they can stash in their wallet if they wish. Winner: Banana Republic

Urgency: Since Coach gives you most of the month to use this offer, there is less urgency created to rush and do so today.  The Banana Republic offer was good for a shorter window of time (only good for one weekend) so it adds urgency. Winner: Banana Republic

Overall: So, although both offers had some positive aspects, overall, I thought the Coach offer was much more compelling. How about you?


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